Bayside & Port Phillip

Personal Space: Mal Walden puts his feet up

Former newsreader Mal Walden in his cherished outdoor courtyard garden. Photo: Michael Rayner

Former newsreader Mal Walden in his cherished outdoor courtyard garden. Photo: Michael Rayner

Mal Walden, is a news reading veteran, having spent almost half a century at the news desks of channels Seven and Ten. Mal retired three years ago, ending a 26-year career with Ten, 20 years at Seven and 10 years on radio before that.

Now he has written his autobiography The Newsman. “It’s the culmination of 54 years of work,” Mal says. “I kept a diary until the day I retired. I have 53 diaries in the garage, each day recorded. All the stories, from the assassination of JFK right through to September 11.”

A father of 31-year-old twins and recently a first-time grandfather, Mal lives in a bayside townhouse with Pauline, his wife of 33 years, and their schnoodle Romy. Retirement has meant Mal can indulge his passion for gardening (albeit in the courtyard they downsized to) and travel abroad with Pauline, including to their beloved France.

But it’s not all gardening. Mal has also spent time mentoring a family friend, Georgia Love, a journalist from Hobart, who was The Bachelorette on television in 2016. And he’s been busy with the book. “Retirement is fantastic,” he says.

The Newsman by Mal Walden (Brolga) $34.99

POLAROID CAMERA

This is one of the first Polaroid self-developing cameras that came to Australia. My dad was put in charge of promoting this revolutionary camera in 1957.

His job was to do perhaps one of the first advertorials on TV. He went on to TheHappy Show with Happy Hammond and Princess Panda and demonstrated the camera by taking happy snaps of kids in the audience.

His job was to do perhaps one of the first advertorials on TV. He went on to TheHappy Show He became known as Roly Poly, a household name in his own right. Dad gave me the Polaroid as a parting gift when I left home aged 18.

Polaroid Land camera. Photo: Michael Rayner

Polaroid Land camera. Photo: Michael Rayner

ARCHIBALD PRIZE ENTRY BY PETER BIRAM

Peter is a former news cameraman I worked with at Channel Ten in the late ’80s. He’s an artist and teaches art at Deakin University.

It’s called Green Thumb. It’s such a large painting, there’s only one wall in the house big enough to hang it.

I don’t know what we’d do if we ever moved.

Archibald portrait by Peter Biram. Photo: Michael Rayner

Archibald portrait by Peter Biram. Photo: Michael Rayner

SECATEURS

I just love pottering. I will start with a twig that needs cutting and five hours later there’s a pile of rubbish and leaves. We downsized eight years ago from a very large property.

I love gardening. I wanted somewhere with a courtyard so I could dabble a little bit without excessive work.

There are still things I do that I shouldn’t. I still climb the trees and lop the tops off them, things that someone of my vintage shouldn’t be doing. Pottering was great for memorising scripts.

Trusty garden secateurs. Photo: Michael Rayner

Trusty garden secateurs. Photo: Michael Rayner

TIPPA TYPEWRITER

In 1972 Channel Seven offered me a cadetship in journalism. John Maher, the news director, said: “I’ve inherited you. [Ron] Casey seems to think we can make something of you, I’m not sure we can.” I immediately went out and bought a typewriter.

First typewriter. Photo: Michael Rayner

First typewriter. Photo: Michael Rayner

MY BOOK THE NEWSMAN

Every major story had a personal impact. In 2009 I enrolled in UCLA university online and did a non-fiction writing course. Writing was therapeutic, cathartic.

Mal Walden's memoirs

Mal Walden’s memoirs “the Newsman”. Photo: Michael Rayner

 

PHOTO

Our first grandson William James or “Billy”, who’s seven months.

I cannot get over how besotted we are. We eagerly look forward to every hour and every minute.

8 month old grandson.

8 month old grandson.

 

LIMITED EDITION MARC CHAGALL PRINT SIGNED BY THE ARTIST

Limited edition Marc Chagall print signed by the artist

It hangs above my favourite fire in what I call “the winter room”. I’ve done a lot of my writing from here. We bought the print from a gallery in Toorak Road 15 years ago. It’s a Paris streetscape and we both love Paris.

Limited edition print by Marc Chagall.

Limited edition print by Marc Chagall.

 

THE ANCIENT SPOUT

I worked on a kibbutz in Israel in 1969 and stayed for six months. Part of my job was sorting spuds on a conveyor belt and the second part of the job was irrigating the Negev desert.

While doing that I dug up this specimen. I took it back to the kibbutz and asked them what it was. They said it’s probably 2000 years old. It’s the spout of a Philistine drinking mug.

Under the rules you’re not allowed to take artefacts out of the country and they said “Look, you’ll get away with that because there are quite a few of them. Take it as a gift from the kibbutz”. So I did.

Spout from an ancient gourd. Photo: Michael Rayner

Spout from an ancient gourd. Photo: Michael Rayner

 

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